How “The Blueberry Swirl Waltz” Came to Be (a new release this summer)
I had never written a novella before (a book that’s approximately 100 pages) but when my publisher, The Wild Rose Press, put out a call to their authors for submissions for an ice cream themed novella to be published this summer, I decided to try my hand at it. The rules were simple. The story must take place during the summer and center around or have something to do with an ice cream parlor/stand. It should take place near water, a beach, or a resort town, and the title had to contain an ice cream flavor.
Since my family spends a big part of the summer in Bradley Beach, I initially thought about having that as the setting and creating a family-run ice cream shop that was on the brink of closing its doors. I outlined the story and was ready to begin writing. But the more I thought about it, memories of my grandmother’s ice cream and confectionery shop in Roebling interfered.
Since I was only five or so when my grandmother sold the shop, my memories were vague. So I peppered my mother with questions and a new story was born.
Not only did I set the story at an ice cream and confectionery shop in Roebling in 1951, (before my time, and due to the year, this book is considered historical fiction) I also based the heroine loosely on my mom, who was an Arthur Murray’s dance teacher for several years in the 50s.
This novella was a joy to write and I loved having my mother available to answer questions about the town of Roebling back then, the shop specifically, the Roebling Steel plant, and of course dance lessons.
Below is a photo of my mom in front of the house connected to the store (1945) and another of my grandmother in the same spot (1943).
Stay tuned for an interview with my mom detailing her memories of the ice cream shop.